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Vodafone granted leave to appeal TSO case

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 30 NZPA - The Supreme Court has granted Vodafone leave to appeal the way the Commerce Commission works out the costs of providing local residential telephone services to non-commercial customers.

In December, Vodafone was turned down by the Court of Appeal when it disputed the commission's method to calculate the cost to Telecom of servicing its rural customers under the Telecommunications services obligations (TSO) for the 2003-04 year.

Today, the Supreme Court issued a judgment granting Vodafone leave to appeal whether the commission complied with the applicable statutory provisions in making its determination.

Vodafone would use its right to appeal, and its lawyers were currently working through the legal issues, spokesman Paul Brislen said.

The case was against the Commerce Commission, but Vodafone was trying to recover the money from Telecom.

"So if we do get an appeal upheld, I'm sure they will appeal that, and then we'll start all over again," Mr Brislen said.

Vodafone had paid about $20 million a year to Telecom.

However, the Government recently announced it would introduce a new annual levy across the industry to pay TSO charges and enable grants towards rural telecommunications infrastructure.

Vodafone was at various stages of appealing the commission's determinations for the years since 2003/04.

Vodafone maintained that the costs should have been calculated on the basis that an efficient service provider would have used existing mobile technology sites except where new ones were needed to meet demand.

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